Residents of The Gambia,
Annually, we look forward to Christmas as a reminder of the blessings of the Almighty God upon humanity. It is with joy, therefore, that I salute the Christian family in The Gambia and abroad as they celebrate the Holy Feast of Christmas.
We should take this moment as an opportunity to renew our faith in the Almighty for His guidance and mercies during the year.
We know that the world continues to face the effects of the global economic crisis and conflicts between and within nations; however, this is a period to look back and be grateful for the excellent health, peace, and tranquillity bestowed upon our families, neighbours, friends, and loved ones.
As we celebrate Christmas tomorrow, let us pray for the lives we lost over the year, those living with ill health and lying at home or admitted to hospital, and those in sorrow or in prison due to miscarriage of justice or for no fault of theirs. They deserve our prayers and well wishes.
I am grateful for the manner Christians in the country conduct themselves. I should also mention that, even though they are in the minority, they enjoy their right to religious freedom, worship, and association like all other citizens.
Inter-faith cohesion and family ties between Christians and non-Christians make us a model as a people of different faiths who co-exist peacefully.
In this sense, our country is blessed uniquely and, whether we admit it or not, as a people of diverse religious inclinations, we are admired for our tolerance and respect for each other.
The Government will continue to uphold the right to religion and practice, as long as it does not interfere with the laws of the land in maintaining peace, stability, and mutual coexistence.
I call on all Gambians to continue to nurture inter-faith cooperation and tolerance in our communities, maintain the principle of equal status as citizens, and have regard for our shared values of humility, trust, and faith.
The Christian Community of The Gambia,
Christmas is always a moment of joy for Christians and their non-Christian friends and neighbours. It is a season to renew our social ties and connect with friends and family. Despite our religious differences, many look forward to the cultural experience that comes with it.
The Christian Community continue to exhibit respect for the rule of law and meaningfully contribute to nation-building. They support the poor and vulnerable through their charitable organisations and the social sectors, such as education, health, and agriculture.
I have to seize this occasion to thank the Christian denominations and their leadership for continuing to preach peace and harmony for the betterment of humanity, and for encouraging their congregations to engage in positive actions that promote peaceful co-existence.
While we celebrate Christmas this year with relief from COVID-19, unfortunately, we continue to feel its impact on the global chain of supplies and the hiking prices of commodities.
I urge The Gambia Christian Council to encourage the Christian community to look inward in building resilience against the global crisis and invest in agric-business for economic wellbeing and self-reliance.
Let us exploit the opportunities the Government is creating to improve livelihoods. Despite the global challenges, we are developing policies that allow citizens to explore the country’s potential to develop rapidly.
Let us take our religious and political diversity as a source of strength, learn to accept our differences, and reconcile as a people. No matter what we do or say, our citizenship binds us as one people. In this light, let us respect each other and adhere to the rule of law. For peace, stability, and justice to prevail, we must accept our shortcomings and act with humility.
As we have learned over the years, democracy comes with responsibility, and our desire for sustained democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law have brought focus to our nation.
The country has earned respect and support on the global stage, clearly showing that our size does not matter as much as what we do for ourselves and humanity.
As Gambians, we continue to be proud that our orientation towards multi-party democracy and our devotion to the advancement of our dear motherland are paying dividend. Let us continue to embrace these values in an unwavering manner that future generations will be proud of.
Our Christian Brothers and Sisters,
Fellow Gambians and Residents of The Gambia,
I will conclude by urging our Christian brothers and sisters to continue to learn from the exemplary deeds of Jesus Christ for the guidance of humanity to love, do good, and assist each other, especially during difficult times.
I reiterate my prayer that God opens our hearts to love, our minds to wisdom, and our nation to peace and blessings.
May the Christian Community, once again, celebrate Christmas peacefully and with lots of joy and blessings.
Merry Christmas to all of you.